Utilitarianism

Alexa Smith
Flashcards by Alexa Smith, updated more than 1 year ago
Alexa Smith
Created by Alexa Smith over 5 years ago
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Flashcards on Act, Rule and Preference utilitarianism

Resource summary

Question Answer
What are Jeremy Bentham's Dates? 1748-1832
What are J.S. Mill's Dates? 1806-1873
What are Peter Singer's dates? 1946-
What is the Principle of Utility? Actions are only right if they promote happiness or pleasure
What must you reduce, before you increase pleasure? Pain
What is Act Utilitarianism? You look at each particular situation individually and use the Hedonic Calculus to work out what will be the most useful and 'good' outcome Principle of Utility is applied to each situation
In act utilitarianism, are actions a means to an end, or an end in themselves? A means to an end
Give three weaknesses of Utilitarianism No defence for minorities Potential to justify any act Difficult to predict consequences Difficult to define pleasure - subjective Impractical to calculate every action
Jeremy Bentham was QUANTITATIVE, what does this mean? It means that the AMOUNT of pleasure outweighs the QUALITY of the pleasure
Give Three Strengths of Utilitarianism Accessible to anyone as it does not rely on a particular deity Straightforward and simple way to give people a moral guide Can maximize the overall utility by maximizing the utility of each individual action It allows moral rules to change and adapt from age to age and situation
What is the Hedonic Calculus? A set of 7 questions that helps people workout how useful (i.e. how much pleasure or goodness) an action is
What does the Hedonic Calculus ask? (the seven questions) Intensity Duration Certainty Propinquity Probability pleasure will lead to other pleasures Purity Extent
What is Hedonism? The idea that 'good' is defined in terms of pleasure and happiness.
Is Utilitarianism teleological or deontological, and why? It's teleological because it takes into consideration the outcome to determine goodness.
What is Rule Utilitarianism? Rules should be formed using utilitarian principles for the benefit of society. Enables us to establish rules which will promote happiness
How do you apply rule utilitarianism? When you have a moral dilemma, you apply the situation to a general rule and this will help you make the right choice
What is the difference between strong and weak rule utilitarianism? Strong rule utilitarians believe the rules based on happiness should never be disobeyed Weak rule utilitarians say they should be a rule of thumb, but if the right thing to do calls to break the rule of thumb, you must
What are three strengths of Rule Utilitarianism? Establishes universal standards that can be followed by all, providing clear guidance Rules help to get over some of the problems of Act Utilitarianism, particularly the rights of the minority. It overcomes W.D. Ross' objection that Act Utilitarianism is counterintuitive
What are three weaknesses of Rule Utilitarianism? WD Ross - "Single-factor" moral theories don't work because life is too complex - emotions (prima facies) must be taken into consideration Elitist theory Difficult to predict consequences
What did J.S. Mill stress rather than pleasure? Happiness
J.S. Mill was QUALITATIVE, what does this mean? It means that it's not about the QUANTITY of pleasure, but the QUALITY of pleasure
When J.S. Mill said "It is better to be socrates dissatisfied, than a fool satisfied", what did he mean? He meant that it is better to be intelligent (have higher pleasures) and be a little unhappy, then be concerned with physical pleasures rather than mental pleasures and be happy
Bentham or Mill? "The greatest good (pleasure) for the greatest number" Bentham
Bentham or Mill? Would protect the common good, focused on univerability Mill
Bentham or Mill? "The greatest happiness for the greatest number" Mill
Bentham or Mill? Quantitive Bentham
What is Preference Utilitarianism? Judges moral actions according to whether they fit in with the preferences of the individuals involved
Who are the three philosophers mainly associated with preference utilitarianism? Richard Brandt R.M. Hare Peter Singer
According to preference utilitarianism, what is goodness? Goodness = maximizing preferences and interests of all
What are three weaknesses of Utilitarianism? Ignores the importance of duty Difficult to predict outcomes Can be used against minorities to create the greatest happiness
What are three strengths of Utilitarianism? Straight forward and based on the single principle of minimising pain and maximising pleasure and happiness Consequentialist Logical
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